“Giants Chair guitarist-lyricist-singer, Scott Hobart, waxes philosophical about Post-Punk, Emo, Honky-Tonk Music and keeping it real.”
Influential 90’s midwestern emo band Giants Chair is back after a 23-year absence. A new album, ‘Prefabylon’ will be released on December 6 via Spartan Records. A new song titled “Kids Running” is debuting today in partnership with Talkhouse. Contemporaries and tour mates of bands such as Jimmy Eat World, Boys Life, The Dismemberment Plan, Hoover, Sweep the Leg Johnny, Cap’n Jazz, Shiner, Boilermaker, and more, Giants Chair released a pair of albums on Caulfield Records in the 90’s and were a part of the early emo scene with acts like Boys Life, Shiner, Christie Front Drive, and fellow Kansas City bands such as Molly McGuire and Season to Risk.
Pre-order ‘Prefabylon’ here: https://spr.tn/giantschair.
In the midwest in the early nineties, three musicians serendipitously found one another and began to power a sound. This sonic synergy charged not only the band’s own individually-heralded releases but would also influence decades of artists-to-come who would cut their rock-n-roll teeth on Giants Chair records. After years of writing and recording, after innumerable sweaty basement shows, after thousands of miles of highway blur, and a million fragmented memories, lives progressed, and the fire that fueled Giants Chair gave way to new responsibilities — but it never went out.
In the fall of 1989, Scott Hobart (guitar, lyrics, vocals) and Byron Collum (bass) both arrived to attend the Kansas City Art Institute. After a catalytic connection and several early band iterations in Kansas City, Hobart and Collum opted for a move to Collum’s hometown of Green Bay, WI in the winter of 1993 to play with drummer Paul Ackerman. The trio relocated back to Kansas City the following spring as Giants Chair with their debut 7” Hot Boy on Caulfield Records. Soon after the band assembled enough songs to record their first full-length album, Red and Clear, a cryptic epic – it was equal parts raw and refined. While many of the band’s peers trended toward post-rock deconstruction in the following years, Giants Chair returned with Purity and Control, the record that solidified the band’s signature balance of tight rhythms and forward melodies — deceptively simple hooks that collide with lush and layered sonic force.
Thematically, as a concept, Prefabylon is rooted in lyrics of their new song “Lost Again” — Lost between ghost towns — prefabulous ruins / makeshift intentions to shelter hope’s fools. “I was thinking about people building lives and meaning out of leftovers — how hope springs eternal, but sometimes it’s ill-fated,” says Hobart in a press release from Earshot Media. “So the title/concept for me is kind of a double-meaning — it calls into question disposable means and values, but also respects that, really, that’s all humans have ever done — made lives out of leftovers.”
With all of the band’s original core components and members still intact (no small feat of itself!) listeners needn’t brace for any departure from the band’s signature post-punk DNA. Equal parts early new wave, skate punk, prog, political folk, and 70’s and 80’s radio rock, Giants Chair’s influences can be traced across their now ‘era-transcending’ catalogue. “As a band,” Hobart states “I think we must sound ‘midwestern.’ It’s essentially classic, no-frills, rock elements creating a big wall of melody. At turns, the music reminds me of rolling landscape, sky and highways, old factories and farms, distant streetlights and radio towers – how these things make me feel. Kind of a lonely, but somehow-hopeful ache while looking west… then the sky shatters. I remember saying at some point early in the music writing that I was hearing AC/DC meets My Bloody Valentine, but I guess we’ve always erred, to some extent, on the side of AC/DC. And maybe more ‘D.C.’- as in District Of Columbia” by now” Hobart humorously stated.
Prefabylon came to life at Weights and Measures Soundlab in Kansas City, MO. with the help of engineer Duane Trower. When the band was finally ready, drums, bass and foundational guitars were tracked live, lightning-in-a-bottle, in two sessions. Over the weeks that followed, vocals and the remaining guitar elements were meticulously added to the mix.
While most listeners will rest easy in the notion of sonic familiarity, those looking for artistic evolution will find it in Prefabylon’s lyrics. “I didn’t want to write or sing or yell about growing old – as frustrating as it can be,” states Hobart, “so, at first, I think I was going down the old safe road of lyrical crypticism – but, ultimately, I found it hard to be passionate in sheer abstraction. I really felt like I wanted to be more coherent in all this emotionalism. But, while I don’t want to be middle-aged ranting, I also can’t help that the things I’m most passionate about by now, are things about being a 48 year-old father of 2 sons, married for 21 years to the same patient woman, living in a big, rich, wasteful commercial of a country on an ailing planet — sometimes wishing I could just get in the van with my rock and roll brothers and head West forever.”
The latest debuting track most certainly has a midwestern influence much to the likes of Texas’ Old 97’s as well EMO influences and rock vibrations of groups like Jimmy Eat World.